Written by: Joe Henderson, Illustrations by: Lee Garbett,Colours by: Antonio Fabela, Letters by: Simon Bowland.
After running away, Zadie is now grounded, no going out, and no phone. That however, won’t stop her from finding out what’s going on. Although, first she breaks the news to Ricky that he is now her shadow, so where ever she goes, he must, to avoid suspicion. While at school, she meets the new councillor. It’s here that both Ricky and Zadie believe she knows more about her situation than she’s letting on.
During this issue, we touch on many of the themes and issues brought up in the first issue. Joe Henderson has written a truly touching and heartwarming story that deals with grief and how it can affect people differently. The writing on display is truly wonderful. It does its job so well of depicting so many emotions, that I felt it while reading. If he hasn’t written this based on a personal experience, then I truly believe that this is some of the best writing I’ve come across. Even if this is based on a real life experience, the ability to draw out those emotions and make the reader connect to characters that we have only just met, is a master class in the craft.
Two of the best moments for this are as follows: as we see above, interactions between Zadie and her brother are a mix of heartfelt and comedic, showing a true sibling bond that can thrive, even in their situation. These kind of moments are made even more emotional when you factor in that these interactions could all be within her head. This could be, as the councillor says, a way of dealing with grief by externalising it. To deal with the loss of her brother, to make it easier on herself, she has manifested a consciousness of his personified by a shadow that has to be with her at all times. Shadows are always touching you, and never leave. This would ensure that he can never leave her again.
The other is a silent panel, which shows off how powerful the artwork is, by reciprocating the messages from the last issue. In touching on grief, we also look at how it affects the loved ones who are left behind. In this instance, Ricky's mother is caring for her son by bathing him and just caring for his body. By doing this, she doesn’t feel like she’s neglecting him, and is hanging on to the hope that he comes back. This panel also looks at the other side. We get Ricky's perspective, when he asks Zadie how much of a burden he is. Despite no one saying as much, he can see how his mother has reacted, and this fuels his suspicions of being a burden. We get all of this from one panel. Which is why I think both the writing and the art is such a high calibre.
Overall, this is second excellent entry into this exceptional series. We get to explore slightly more the prospect that this could all be happening inside Zadie's head. We also get evidence that suggests the contrary. Which in turn leads us to speculate even more about her situation, making for an enjoyable and thought provoking series.
Shadecraft #2 from Image Comics will be released on 28th April from your local comic shop as well as comixology